Marc Burri

Economics Ph.D. Student University of Neuchâtel [ CV ]


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Three Centuries of Swiss Economic Sentiment

[ Mimeo ] [ Comments are very welcome! ] Abstract: There is a lack of consistent and well-measured Swiss business cycle indicators over long historical episodes. This paper fills this gap by constructing a business cycle indicator on quarterly frequency spanning from 1820 to 2021. Using textual data such as historical company records, newspapers, and business association reports, I develop a business cycle indicator, drawing on sentiment and count-based measures related to key economic concepts. This approach involves extensive data collection, surpassing existing datasets in scope and historical coverage. The composite indicator demonstrates strong correlations with real economic activity, effectively capturing historical downturns and expansions. I also employ it to estimate recession probabilities, shedding light on Switzerland’s economic history. This paper contributes by introducing a comprehensive business cycle indicator, assembling a rich textual dataset, presenting innovative text mining methods, and establishing the first business cycle dating for Switzerland in the 19th and early 20th centuries.